The Morton Arboretum is donating 15 trees to the village of Riverside that will be planted in the Blythe Park neighborhood. Morton Arboretum is celebrating its 100 birthday this year by donating 1,000 trees throughout the Chicago area in what they are calling their Centennial Tree Planting Initiative. 

“They’ll all be planted in Blythe Park and parkways around the school, public right of way, some triangular parks and adjacent areas,” said Riverside Village Forester Michael Collins of the 15 trees being donated to Riverside.

The trees will include a variety of species including bald cypress, persimmon, eastern rosebud, apple serviceberry, sugar maple and Triumph elm.

“I was given a species list and I came back and requested certain species,” Collins said adding that he wanted a mix of sun and shade trees.

Former Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education member Lisa Gaynor, who now works for the Morton Arboretum as an education program guide and little trees assistant, helped direct the trees to the Blythe Park area. 

Gaynor, who was once the president of the Blythe Park School PTA, pushed to have Blythe Park School students help in the planting and care of the trees.

“Lisa Gaynor found out about arboretum giving trees to village and … kind of jumped out and got involved in it, suggested Blythe Park School, but the wheels were in motion,” Collins said. 

The trees will be planted in Blythe Park and in public right of ways near the school, including the triangle parks located along Eastgrove Road at Blythe Road, Kent Road and  Delaplaine Road. 

The trees are expected to be planted in the first week on May. Gaynor suggested getting Blythe Park School students involved in the planting as an educational exercise. 

Blythe Park students will help plant the trees. 

“Once the trees are planted all Blythe Park students will planted all Blythe Park students will plant flowers around the circumference of the trees closest to the school,” said Casmira Gorman, the principal of Blythe Park School. “Students will also assist with the care and watering of the trees.” 

Lyons Township High School is also getting trees from the Morton Arboretum Centennial project. Volunteers will plant a total of 48 native trees — sugar maple, persimmon, oak, linden and elm saplings — on the grounds of both campuses on May 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in an effort to help restore the urban tree canopy. 

The saplings will be planted as part of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative and the Morton Arboretum’s Centennial Tree Planting Initiative. Anyone who would like to volunteer to plant trees at the LTHS campuses can sign up online at

Morton Arboretum donated some trees a few years ago to the village of Riverside that were planted in the triangular park located at Longcommon and Downing roads.